Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Sunshine Week, Part Two: How Much Do I Have to Pay For Your Worthless Endorsement?

Let's start at the end, shall we? The Oregon League of Conservation Voters has officially endorsed Pat Malone in the primary election for Benton County Commissioner. And for further context before we begin, here's the OLCV's Mission Statement: "To pass laws that protect Oregon's environmental legacy, elect pro-environment candidates to office, and hold all of our elected officials accountable."

So, let's get right to the whole "holding accountable" thing, including some accountability for the OLCV. I will walk you through the whole questionable process of gaining OLCV's "endorsement."

First of all, the filing period for this position closed at 5 PM on March 6th. That was the deadline for any and all party-affiliated candidates to sign up, declare their intentions, and get in the race. And, lo and behold, there was actually a last minute candidate, Christine Kramer, who signed up (as a Democrat) just minutes before the filing period closed. Again, that filing period closed at 5 PM, on March 6th.

The OLCV had their official endorsement out by 7 PM on March 8th - if not earlier. In other words, there is no way that they could have actually assessed all the candidates in the primary race before issuing their endorsement. Just looking at the times and dates makes that clear. And to be clear, I have talked with other candidates, and know for a fact that they didn't talk to all of the candidates.

And if you don't talk to all the candidates, and deliberate over their relative merits, then what good is your endorsement? It becomes meaningless, a sham - or maybe even an outright scam.

I've named Christine Kramer simply because by explaining the whole time of filing versus the time of the endorsement thing it would be clear to anybody who I was talking about, even if I didn't name her.

Now let's talk about the experience of another candidate for Benton County Commissioner - let's call them Candidate X. After filing, Candidate X heard from the OLCV, and was asked to fill out a questionnaire, and given a deadline for getting it back to them. Then, before the deadline was up, they contacted Candidate X again, told them to forget that deadline, and that they'd be in touch.

And that was the last that Candidate X heard from the OLCV, until hearing (from a third party, not the OLCV) that they had endorsed Pat Malone.

So, again, if you don't consider all the candidates...AND actively jerk candidates around, what is your endorsement worth? What is it really telling us?

Moving on, let's now consider the experience of Candidate Y, who seems to have gotten further along in the process than Candidate X did, but to no good end.

Candidate Y also was contacted by the OLCV, and sent a questionnaire to fill out, which included a deadline. The stated deadline was already in the past when the OLCV sent the questionnaire. When Candidate Y pointed this out to the OLCV, they offered a new deadline. Candidate Y met that deadline, and was even called in for an interview.

The interview took place in Dan Rayfield's office. The interview, for the endorsement of the OLCV, was conducted by Harold (Harry) Demarest - who is not actually associated or affiliated with the OLCV, but who is known as a money man in local Democratic circles. (The Rayfield connection makes sense being that Demarest has given Rayfield thousands of dollars in campaign contributions over the years.)

Candidate Y described Demarest as being alternately badgering and bullying as they went over the questionnaire. But the questionnaire was just a pretext, it seems. It all came down to the final questions, ones that weren't on the questionnaire: "How much money are you going to raise? How much money are you going to raise for us?" The "us" apparently referred to the Benton County Democratic Party. Candidate Y, not expecting this question in an interview from an environmental group that was supposed to be about their endorsement, was apparently somewhat thrown. (I'm going to assume the only correct answers to those questions would be, "A lot!" or possibly "How much do you want me to raise?")

In any case, Candidate Y is obviously not Pat Malone, because Candidate Y did not get the OLCV's endorsement - and, again, didn't hear back from them, either. No feedback, no nothing. My assumption is that Candidate Y was just the window dressing of going through the process, in case anyone asked, while I also assume that Pat Malone didn't actually have to answer a single question, or be interviewed. Because, clearly, from everything I can see about the "process" of this endorsement, the fix was very much in. (Hint: Follow the money...Stay tuned!)

So, when you see Pat's slick website, or his sure-to-be-coming expensive mailers, or his inevitable costly newspaper ads, all touting his "endorsement" by the OLCV, take it for what it's worth. Which is to say, nothing. It's just part of the corruption, dysfunction and garbage that is involved in partisan politics. At the risk of sounding like a broken record...When you see all this sleazy behavior, is it any wonder I chose to run unaffiliated with a political party?

Full disclosure: Let me make it clear, this is NOT a case of sour grapes on my part. I am not in the primary election, therefore, there is no way I would even be eligible for a primary endorsement. But that doesn't mean I can't still be outraged and disgusted by the obvious sleazy skullduggery and lying that is involved in this. NO ONE is well served by this sort of backroom fixing of elections - not the public, not the process, and certainly not the environment. The only thing that this arrangement serves is to line the pockets of connected people involved, and to perpetuate a dysfunctional business as usual. So be sure to stay tuned for my next installment in this series, which will look at all the money, money, money flowing around our local elections. The next part will feature lots more exciting live links, as well as lots of interesting/questionable out of state guests/donors.


  1. Somewhat related to the above piece...Last night was the first debate of the season, one hosted by Rick Osborn and Lauana Beaty. It was supposed to be unbiased, but, with those two in charge of it, that wasn't the case.

    For one thing, they kept touting that it was a debate that was "open to all candidates," and I kept hearing from people that Beaty was telling them she had personally invited me.

    She did not invite me. I never heard a word from her. But I kept hearing this, right up to the minutes before the debate when one of the local Democrats insisted to my face that "she e-mailed you." I told her that she did not. She told me, "Yes she did!" It was insane, being told what had supposedly happened to me by someone who doesn't know me, or the actual facts of the situation.

    So, for the record, I understand that it absolutely LOOKS better if Lauana Beaty can say she reached out to me; but the fact remains that she did NOT do so. My contact information is hardly hidden - it's on my filing form, which is a public record. You can also just Google it.

    But she did not do so. She did lie about it. Those are the facts.

    1. Per some feedback I have received about the above comment, let me offer an amendment or clarification.

      All I know for sure is that numerous people told me, and my wife, that they had been told by Lauana Beaty that she had contacted me to invite me to the forum last night. Needless to say, I was not privy to those (supposed) conversations, so, yes, technically, I do not know that Lauana Beaty lied about that to all these people. All I do know is that I heard the same story about what she told people from multiple sources. So, from my perspective, it sure looks like an untruth was told.

      On a related note...Last night at the debate, Rick Osborn came up and talked with me. It was entirely low key, and personable. No drama at all. As for Lauana Beaty, she never said a word to me.

  2. Scores and scores of hits here today - thanks to everyone who is sharing this. Please continue to do so.

    Also please feel free to comment here if you like. No calling names or flames will be allowed. All comments will be moderated. Anonymous comments are fine. The discussion will be kept truthful, and productive, and will not be allowed to veer into typical online trolling, inanity or insanity.